Cowell’s culinary show has endured some criticism, including towards his creator saying that he had lost his Midas touch, but all this didn’t bother one woman. Nobody has been happier than Julie Cowell, Simon’s mother, because her son had finally stepped into food television.
Food Glorious Food, which tries to find the most loved British recipe, is actually Simon’s tribute to his mother and her home-cooked food. The ITV show focuses on home-made recipes that are passed through generation of families, and was inspired by Simon’s love of his mum’s sheperd’s pies, chicken curries, lemon drizzle cakes and apple pies. His older brother Tony talked about the show in an interview: Simon is extremely proud of this show and it all starts and ends with Mum. Simon was always a very, very fussy eater, extremely difficult to feed as a boy and always the last to finish his food. He continued about his brother quirks: For years the only thing he would eat was fish fingers or baked beans on toast and the only cooked vegetable he would eat — and will still only eat — is peas.
He continued revealing his brother’s fussy childhood: Mum became worried about him — we all were. We didn’t think he’d make it to the age of 30 on his poor diet. Once Mum tried to get him to eat braising steak but he spat it out and threw it over the garden fence. From the age of five, if you didn’t give him what he wanted to eat, he just refused to eat. Mum would try to ban him from leaving the table but he would go anyway. He was so strong-willed — even then.
Eventually his mum’s will won over his, and with perseverance she got him to enjoy her dishes like Sunday roasts, spaghetti bolognese or shepherd’s pie. She actually did such a good job that to this day he still follows this diet, even though he can afford dining at haute cuisine restaurants and has his personal chef.
For his 50th birthday party he didn’t get a fancy menu: he served his guests with fish fingers and his favourite dessert Angel Delight.
Older brother Tony discussed his current tastes: His tastes have never really changed over the years and he hates all other fish and seafood. Even now he has steak and chips every other day whether he’s in Barbados, LA or his London home in Holland Park. The most adventurous he gets is eating a curry which stems from Mum’s amazing chicken curries. We went to see Mum the other week and when I said I was popping out to fetch us all an Indian takeaway, Simon wanted to come too — he always chooses chicken madras.
Simon is now more preoccupied about eating healthy and staying fit, probably it’s the L.A. effect. But that applies only to breakfast. He starts his day with a seven course breakfast: hot water with lemon, papaya juice with lime, oatmeal, tea and a range of smoothies like banana, spinach, honey and ginger. He doesn’t snack on crisps or peanuts since he started looking after his figure and the only snack he favours are raw carrots, the only raw vegetable he can eat. But even so, he’s still a sweet tooth and loves that butterscotch flavour of an Angel Delight and his mum’s lemon drizzle cake, apple pie or her Christmas cake. And his biggest obsession remains buttercream. Everything must come with buttercream, not plain cream!
But even though his culinary tastes are simple and traditional, his demands when it comes to food aren’t. Once he flew his personal chef from London to L.A. so he could inspect some outdoor pizza ovens installed at his L.A. mansion, and he has fresh fruit for smoothies send by air freight. In a Caribbean holiday spent on a massive yacht, he told the chef to reproduce his favourite tomato sauce . When we lived in a place called Pinkneys Green, Windsor became one of Simon’s haunts and Pizza-land was his hangout. On his yacht one day, he declared: “The best tomato sauce in the world on a pizza was Pizza-land’s in Windsor. Pizza-land had long closed so he wanted Geoff to reproduce the recipe by tracking down the franchise owner in Abu Dhabi. Forty minutes later Geoff produced a fresh pizza in a box decorated with Pizza-land’s motif, copied from the internet, his brother Tony recalls.
Aah the perks of being a celebrity!